National Mourning

December 5, 2018, was declared a national day of mourning for the United States of America, because former President George H. W. Bush had died the previous day. Many governmental agencies were shut down in response to this day of mourning for a past president.

When I heard about this, there were a couple of observations that ran through my mind. The first was that, while yes, banks were closed, the stock market was closed and post offices were closed, there didn’t seem to be an outpouring of sorrow. No one was of a sad countenance. Life kept going on. Most people went to their jobs and lived their lives.  Secondly, I wondered what it would be like if this day of mourning was actually in response to people’s realization that they have been living the wrong way of life and they were ready to turn to God.

In reading through the Bible, we find many stories about how people were living the wrong way of life and had issues and problems that came to a head. Then, they would call out and ask God for help and He would save them. Many times, the Israelites had to face serious problems and captivity in order to repent and return to God. The city of Nineveh, while not an Israelite city, was warned about the captivity and destruction that WOULD come upon them unless they repented. They did, and the city was spared at that time.

The problem is that very often, humans have to learn the hard way. God doesn’t desire people to die. In Ezekiel 18:21-32; 33:11-20, God keeps asking why people would not turn from sin and live. The whole reason God has given man about 6,000 years to try living his own way is to recognize how bad a job he has done. And indeed, we are coming up to the times when issues and problems are becoming more and more prevalent. We are destroying the earth we live on, and we are in the process of destroying all life. In fact, Christ warns in Matthew 24:21-22 that if God were not to cut short the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, no flesh would survive. We would wipe each other out. That’s how far man would take it. When we review the history of the past two world wars and the atrocities and the inhuman treatment, it is not hard to imagine that man would be willing to do much worse, especially under the inspiration of the god of this world, Satan the Devil.

As Christians, we also have the duty to sigh and cry about the atrocities that we see (Ezekiel 9:4), as well as continue our warning cry to the nations, as we are told to do by God (Ezekiel 33:1-10). Unfortunately, many refuse to hear the warning. They claim to know God and yet their hearts are not in line with God’s ways (Ezekiel 33:30-33). The warning to mourn and to turn to God is plainly there. Will we be the ones who are willing to do so? Or will we have to go through the Great Tribulation?

Our choice is of the utmost importance at this moment in time. James 4:8-10 tells us: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

Yes, we should be weeping. We should be, individually and collectively, appalled, disgusted, shocked and grieved in the depths of our hearts over our sins, just as the people were in Acts 2:37: “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart…”

We are not only addressing the prideful, lying, stealing, and lusting sins but also sins of the tongue, sins of anxiousness, sins of bitterness, sins of partiality, sins of complacency, sins of jealousy, sins of impatience, sins of arrogance, sins of hate, sins of backbiting and sins of cowardliness, and the list could go on and on. We should grieve over all of them because every sin separates us from God.

The time for mourning and returning to God is NOW! In Matthew 5, the beatitudes show that the actions of those who want to be known by God are in line with turning to Him. They are doing what is required of them. One of these actions is mourning, while being mindful of sin in our lives and actively turning from it. True Godly sorrow and repentance produce the change that is needed. 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 says: “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”

Again, the choice is ours. What will our choice be?

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